SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — As Santa Clara County launched a new campaign to provide expanded access to coronavirus testing Friday, technical problems with the county’s website prevented countless residents from making appointments online.
“They don’t know whether you’re asymptomatic and have the virus. So, I can imagine — especially for older people — it’s a matter of life and death for them,” said Daniel Elder. South Bay resident Elder and his roommate drove to PAL Stadium in San Jose hoping for a walk-up appointment for a test, but were turned away.
A spokesperson for Santa Clara County Health acknowledged that demand for tests has not kept pace with the county’s testing capacity. According to a spokesperson for the city of San Jose, the PAL Stadium site — which is run by a partnership between the city, Verily and the state — has a daily capacity of 375 appointments.
“Even though I don’t appear sick or anything, the video said we aren’t giving out enough tests,” said Mel Cee, who also showed up without an appointment and was likewise turned away. Cee said he decided to get tested after watching a video from San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo promising access to quick, convenient testing.
“Anyone who wants a test at this Verily site at PAL Stadium can do so. You don’t need money. You don’t need health insurance. And you don’t need any symptoms,” Mayor Liccardo said in the Facebook video. While the mayor’s message does refer people to the county’s testing website, Cee says it left him with the impression that an appointment was not necessary.
“It is very frustrating. The video should have been more clear that you had to have an appointment. I was surprised when I got up to the front and talked to the person and saw people and cars being turned around. And I said, ‘Hey, what’s going on?'” said Cee.
Securing appointments online has been challenging for many and, for some, virtually impossible. We shared screen shots with the health department from viewers who tried to book appointments at several county testing sites, but received a message that, “At this time, no more appointments are available at the location you chose.”
A spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Health Department says they are working with their testing partners to correct the problems with the website KPIX 5 first brought to their attention.